The engine temperature of a car is a very important factor for it to function properly and be safe. To control it, cars have a built-in valve called a thermostat whose function is to regulate the flow of water or coolant to the radiator. This means that the thermostat closes the flow and does not allow these liquids to flow into the engine until they have reached the ideal temperature specified by the manufacturer.
How to know if car thermostat isn’t working?
Being a fundamental element to control engine maintenance, the thermostat takes on special relevance in the car. So how to know if car thermostat isn’t working? Here, we explain everything you need to know to know the state of your car’s thermostat, as well as the reasons behind its failures and possible solutions to fix them.
Analyze the cooling flow
There are several ways to find out if your car’s thermostat is working properly. One of them is monitoring the coolant flowing through the engine. We recommend you follow the following steps to do it safely:
- Uncover the radiator (a small box located in the front axle) after opening the hood of the car. Turn the screw cap on one of the two sides to the left until it is loose. Don’t do this right after driving – allow a reasonable amount of time for the engine to cool down.
- With the car stopped, start the engine and do not turn it off for the next 20 minutes. In this way, you can graduate and reach the most suitable temperature.
- Check that the coolant circulates through the radiator. If so, the valve will have opened correctly, and therefore the thermostat works. Otherwise, it means it is locked.
- See if the temperature arrow points to the danger zone (in red). If you have that address, the thermostat is causing the failure.
Take engine temperature
Another way to find out if your car’s thermostat is working properly is to measure the temperature of your engine. In this case, you will need an infrared thermometer and you must follow these instructions:
- Start the engine and leave it parked to allow the coolant to warm up. It is important to do it outdoors so that the polluting gases of the car do not accumulate.
- Use an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature the propeller reaches. Record the degrees once the indicator stabilizes.
- You must do the same with the radiator hose: record its temperature and compare it with that of the engine. If it is lower, everything works correctly; if it is the same, the thermostat has opened and locked.
- Allow 15 minutes to elapse and repeat the same procedures with the engine and radiator hose. If the temperature is around 18 degrees, the fault will have been corrected. Otherwise, the failure persists.
Heat water and test the thermostat?
The third method is to test it in hot water. To do it safely, follow these steps:
- Drain the fluid flowing through the radiator. It is important that the drain plug is screwed on once you are done. Avoid contact with the skin of the refrigerant because it contains toxic components.
- Using a screwdriver, separate the hose from the radiator.
- Disconnect the thruster frame, grab the thermostat and remove it. You can use a socket wrench to facilitate the process.
- Dip the thermostat in water. If you use a pot, avoid touching the base because it can distort the temperature you have taken.
- Boil the water so that the thermostat has the temperature at which it normally works inside the engine.
- Take the valve out of the water and check if it is open. If it opens, it works correctly and if it stays closed, you need to replace it.
Thermostat failures – causes
The thermostat is a delicate part in a car’s engine. Considering the importance of its function, it is necessary to know why it can crash. Some of the causes of thermostat failure are:
- The motor works at low temperature and this causes the fluid to accelerate.
- The heaters do not work and this prevents the heating mode from activating.
- There are distortions in the vehicle temperature.
- There is increased fuel consumption since the engine is running in too cold temperatures.
How to repair the thermostat?
To fix your car thermostat, you just need to carry out the following instructions step by step:
- Remove the thermostat from the thruster.
- Look at the valve inside. It is made of mercury, so you should handle it with the utmost caution. If you see a break inside the valve, the thermostat is irreparable and you will have to replace it.
- Mix water and vinegar in equal proportions and, with the mixture, clean the thermostat.
- Put the valve in a pot of boiling water. If it can compress, it will be fixed. If it stays the same, you will need to replace it.
- Reinstall the thermostat where it belongs on the engine.
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